Colin Morikawa won the Open Championship on Sunday, July 18 at Royal St George in southeast England, coming from behind to win by two strokes at 15-under par. He was the perfect stand-in for a historic year for Morikawa, who is now one of golf’s biggest stars. She also revealed that Morikawa is the biggest winner to come out of a rare and bizarre year in the sport.
When COVID-19 halted every sport in the spring of 2020, it created a once-in-a-lifetime scheduling of luck in the world of men’s professional golf. There are four majors each year, but the pandemic delayed three from last year and led to The Open’s being skipped by one year. The result was an unprecedented extension – starting in August 2020 – of seven major companies in 11 months. This included three events postponed for 2020 and the model slate of four events for 2021. There wasn’t a lot of high-stakes golf tightly packed into the calendar.
In addition to producing a lot of good TV shows, the unusual calendar provided an opportunity for the best players in the world. For years, the two men who held the public image of the sport for most of the twenty-first century – Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson – have been fading. Not that they can still win, as Woods showed at the 2019 Masters and Mickelson recently at the 2021 PGA Championship, but they were preparing to pass the baton to a group of sporty, dazzling young players who could hit the ball a mile and they were already beginning to pile on their own piles of trophies. Major commercials and endorsements. The schedule “11 majors in seven months” was an opportunity for any of these players to distinguish themselves from others. Stay on top of your game for a year, and you could win two big championships.
It turns out that the player doing this is Morikawa. He won his first major tournament after lockdown, the 2020 PGA Championship at Harding Park, and now booked the roster with another victory at Royal St George. In the process, this 24-year-old from California Make all kinds of history, including becoming the first player to win his first start in two different disciplines. He has also shown that he will be a force every time he plays for many years to come.
The Open had a way of humiliating the best golfers in the world, but Morikawa beat her once again.
R&A, the British governing body that administers the tournament, has over the years perfected the art of turning The Open into one of the sport’s biggest pressure cookers. It was the site of some Notable breakdowns in golf history. Probably most notable when he was Jan van de Velde Bullets blew three hits On the 18th hole at Carnoustie in 1999. The World Open can also be tricky for American players unfamiliar with British golf, with seaside courses subject to high winds and other challenging weather conditions.
Morikawa wasn’t upset, especially as the week went on. He grabbed two of his first five holes in the third round on Saturday, then Never played another hole On par the rest of the weekend (31-hole stretch). It had echoes of his PGA win of 2020, when he also played his last run without a bogey. But this week, it wasn’t as easy as Morikawa’s scorecard made it seem. It hit 60.7 percent of Royal St. George’s trails, just a shade above the field average of 58.4 percent. He had to often play outside the high rough field. And he did it brilliantly, making enough recovery to keep his grades moving in the right direction.
He started Sunday in second but quickly passed South African Louis Oosthuizen, who will once again have to deal with some. He could have made a mistake, heartbreak after a major. Once Morikawa took the lead, he overtook one of the sport’s best, Jordan Spieth, who tied Oosthuizen for second.
Morikawa may be the best striker in the world. To win, count on being more.
Nobody plays their irons better than Morikawa. Over the past six months, he’s averaged 1.6 strokes per round using his approach shots alone, according to the analytics site. datagolf. No one else was even close to his numbers. He hit some beautiful styles at Royal St. George. But he also had some fouls and needed to save himself around the Greens, with advanced stats suggesting he’s below average on the PGA Tour.
You wouldn’t know it from some of the shots and shots he pulled this weekend. The most dangerous was the ups and downs on the 10th hole on Sunday, when Morikawa made three but looked in danger of dropping a shot (or two) for Spith. Morikawa had other ideas. He hit a sensitive chip to 15 away from the hole, then made a hit test to keep Spieth at arm’s length. He kept it there for the rest of his tour.
“Everything about my stats says I’m not a good speculator statistically,” Morikawa Reporters after winning. “I feel like I can improve a lot. But in these situations, I feel like everything has been thrown off the table. Forget all your stats.”
In the big moments, Morikawa was executed. He was amazing all the time performance mode.
Now, in a ridiculously good group of young American golfers, Morikawa may be the leader.
at. Number 3 in the world overall, Morikawa isn’t the best American player overall yet. (This is Dustin Johnson, who trailed directly behind Spaniard John Ram and is now the number two player.) But Morikawa, 24, tied with Johnson, 37, in two majors. Winning the Open Championship lifted Morikawa from fourth in the world, after fellow American Justin Thomas.
Morikawa has more major wins than all but one of his 20-year-old or early-30-year-old peers in the top ten rankings. (Brooks Koepka has four players. Thomas, Xander Shaveli, Patrick Cantlay, and Patrick Reed all have either a zero or a one.) No one is currently playing better.
The past 11 months have shown that Morikawa can beat anyone. They have also shown that he can do this on at least two continents, and on completely different types of courses. He will be an important player for the American Ryder Cup team in September, and likely every two years after that for the foreseeable future. Morikawa’s incredible talent and ability to shoot the ball will ensure he always has a chance to compete, and his persistence will give him a solid chance to deliver on all his promises. What he had just shown in England was a preview of what was to come.
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